A few years ago, we on social media had been raving about our love of Suzanne Collins Hunger Games books when someone suggested we give Rick Yancey‘s novel The 5th Wave a read. Whilst in the town next door, I saw it in a charity shop window for a £1. I thought it was worth a go, as I was going on holiday and needed something new to read.
The book was a real page-turner, and like so many of these YA book titles, it was soon announced that it would be getting a big screen adaptation.
Announced as director was J Blakeson who made his name with the tense kidnapping drama The Disappearance of Alice Creed and then almost dream casting for the tough survivor of the book, Cassie was Chloe Grace Moretz
The screenplay had 3 different writers with credits of I Am legend, Erin Brockovich & The Amazing Spider-Man 2 between them, so hoped for a good blockbuster that could deal with the end of the world premise and have a strong female lead so at this point all was looking great.
Then the trailer came, and it really highlighted the Aliens arrival on Earth and the first 3 waves, where humankind is wiped out. first by an
The first by an electro-magnetic pulse plunging Earth into Darkness, for which we see planes falling out of the sky. We see tsunami’s and flooding cause so much destruction for the second wave. We see the camps set up to deal with the 3rd wave which shows the many that have been infected so all seemed like the film would be faithful to the book.
We join the book at pretty much the 4th wave, where no one can trust anyone and we see Cassie coming across a survivor in a shop when searching for supplies and we see the concern between the 2 as they question if they are both human.
These opening scenes are really great, we then get told about the previous waves in flashback. We learn that when the army came at the 4th wave, the aliens, known as the others are on earth and in human form.
Much like John Carpenter‘s The Thing everyone soon stops trusting in each other. The army remove all the children from the camp to safety, claiming they have limited space on the coaches. During this evacuation, Cassie gets separated from her younger brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur) and she is now on a quest to get him back, bringing us up to the scene in the store.
The opening of this film is great, we see Cassie dealing with trust and despair, the Waves are shown in devastating effect with some great CGI & this really looked like it could be the YA novel to compete with the Hunger Games.
Sadly it is not. After its great opening, in a scene where Cassie is hot at on a highway, she is saved by mysterious Evan Walker (Alex Roe) and during her recovery and their partnership to find Sam, the film turns from end of the world thriller to some sort of romance film. Cassie looks at Evan, biting her lip when Evan Chops wood, much like scenes reminiscent of Fifty Shades of Grey. I can assure you this was not the Cassie from the book.
Meanwhile, we also follow Sam’s story within the army, where we learn that the Army have devised a way of finding out if a human is actually an ‘Other’. The young cast here do well, in particular, Maika Monroe as Ringer, unrecognizable from her role in last year’s horror hit It Follows.
We also find that Ben (Nick Robinson from Jurassic World) is at the camp, we learn through Cassie’s flashbacks, that he is her big high school crush.
Sending the children out to kill others, we soon learn all is not as it seems and maybe some of the Army are actually Others themselves. This causes Ben to head back to base, where he had kept Sam safe from the hunting mission, as he now feels protective of him. It is here, he will eventually meet up with Cassie and the mysterious Evan.
This causes Ben to head back to base, where he had kept Sam safe from the hunting mission, as he now feels protective of him. It is here, he will eventually meet up with Cassie and the mysterious Evan.
This film had me expecting so much more, of course the book does give more detail, but this was just an average film that we have seen done before. A teen version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers at times, this could have been so much more. You particular feel for Chloe in the title role, expecting a tougher character like those portrayed in Kick-Ass, Let Me In or The Equalizer, this is more like the popcorn fodder she portrayed in the poor remake of Carrie.
This film could and should have been so much more and it will be interesting to see if the book’s 2 sequels ever make the big screen now.
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